Life and Death. Love and Loss.

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea. -- Isak Dinesen

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea. — Isak Dinesen

A few weeks ago, I learned that one of my friends lost her partner of twenty two years in a tragic accident. This really threw me for a loop. My husband and I have been married for twenty two years, and I spent the next few days wondering what I’d do if I was suddenly facing the rest of my life without him. I mean, I know I complain about things like his failure to replace toilet paper rolls, and his tendency to do absent-minded things like leave the freezer open with a frozen turkey sitting on the floor next to it… but these are small things, really. He is always there for the big things… like when he took an entire day off work to help me with formatting my last manuscript and inserting all of the art and computer graphics.

So I made a decision to deliberately be more appreciative and more positive about life and about the people I love. It isn’t exactly easy to continuously monitor and adjust your attitude, but I am working on it. I wish I could say that I have always been such a wonderful, appreciative, person that my efforts have gone unnoticed. But they haven’t. A few days ago, my husband mentioned the change. This is a good thing, because it means that my more positive attitude is working, but also a bad thing, when I think back on all of the time I’ve wasted being negative about things that don’t really matter.

This past weekend, I went home to Camden, SC to help celebrate my parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary.  Fifty years with the same person! That is almost impossible to imagine. And yet, there it is.  We had a great time getting together with wonderful people.  Their children and grandchildren were all there, as well as their siblings and dozens of friends.  I left the event feeling extremely lucky for what I have. It was easy to be positive in the wake of such a party!

Then yesterday I got the call that my cousin, her husband, and her two children were on the plane that crashed in Alaska.  If you have followed any of the news stories, you know that there were no survivors.  The loss of an entire branch of our family is staggering. It is all I can think about. Though I haven’t seen Stacey in a few years, I always assumed I’d see her again. I had pictures of our great grandparents that she wanted, and I intended to give her.  I kept her address on hand in case I ever get back into the groove of sending out cards. Of course, none of this matters now. But how I wish I’d shown appreciation for that relationship when I could have.

Will this devastating news change my determination to be positive?  For the moment… yes.  I’m honestly having a hard time appreciating anything today.

At the same time, a tragedy like this is a reminder that we never know how long we’ll have the people we love with us – our cousins, our parents, our children, our friends, our spouses. A tragedy like this reminds us that we need to appreciate each moment.  A tragedy like this reminds us that we need to appreciate each other.

I’ll be back with more positive thoughts on writing and life soon.  But today, well, you’ve already read about how I feel today. For that, I thank you!

22 comments on “Life and Death. Love and Loss.

  1. Kami, I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for reminding me how I want to live my life – showing those I love how much they are valued. I want you to know that you are a very special person and I appreciate our friendship.

  2. kamikinard says:

    Thank so much Ann. I think we have to keep reminding ourselves of these things, right?

    Carry on!

  3. rnewman504 says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Many thanks for sharing this with us. Now I’m going to play Legos with my son and give him a big hug.

  4. :Donna Marie says:

    Kami, your deeply heartfelt words are being deeply heartfelt here 😦 I, too, am so sorry for yours and your family’s loss. This is truly tragic and there is no changing it. If it helps you to focus on the positives and what to be grateful for more often than you have, that is at least a good thing. Life is so precious and in our “busy”ness it’s easy to take the moments of life for granted. Of course, it is very difficult to live EVERY moment with these things in the forefront, but it can affect us in the positive way you explained. It’s terrible, but often the case, that it takes tragedy to make us less critical because of the appreciation it reminds of us, and that appreciation can lift us when we’re down because it forces us to realize what’s important.

    I’ll say a prayer for you and yours, hoping you get through this mourning period in tact and rebound well. I don’t know where your faith lies, but God does help and comfort when asked. oxox

  5. Kelly H-Y says:

    So very, very sorry for your family’s unimaginable loss …

  6. Lynn Hayes Ruppard says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Your words are so touching and heartfelt. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. Lynn Hayes Ruppard

  7. Jocelyn Rish says:

    Kami, I’m so very sorry for your loss. I heard about the crash on the news, and it was sad to hear about a SC family losing their lives while having a fun family adventure. And to now know it was your cousin makes my heart even more heavy.

    And thank you for the reminder that we need to appreciate the people around us. I definitely take my loved ones for granted, and I need this kind of wake-up call every once in a while to keep me in a more positive and appreciative state of mind.

    My thoughts are with you and all of your family.

  8. Blessings and peace to you and your family. My deep condolences. xo, a.

  9. yarnoftheyak says:

    My best friend (a nerdy chick – as am I) was one of three women murdered while taking an aerobics class in Pittsburgh a few years ago. She was such a beautiful person – I still feel that loss. And yet, her positive attitude lives in me and makes me want to be a better person every day – even in her absence. May you find peace, maybe not today, this week, or even this month, but sometime soon.

    • kamikinard says:

      Thank you so much. It is most difficult for those left behind and I am feeling for the parents who lost their children and grandchildren in an instant. It is great that you had such an inspirational friend, and I’m sorry you lost her, too.

    • :Donna Marie says:

      This world is such a horrible place in many ways. All the more reason for us to be appreciative of all that’s good.

  10. kamikinard says:

    Thank you, everyone, for your kind words. I truly appreciate it. Peace, Kami

  11. Annette Godsey says:

    We are so very sorry for the losses in your family and circle of friends. Please know that our prayers are with you.

  12. Christian Stampfel says:

    What a terribly tragedy…and especially for your family who are left behind to grieve and feel the loss of your cousins. My youngest got bit by a dog in the face yesterday and I’ve felt overwhelmed dealing with that….BUT I still have my daughter..and she’s happy and healthy….a little sore, yes, and a bit scarred but…..she’s here and your words are so true. We so take life for granted and it can be snatched from us at any moment. Tonight…a special prayer for you. Can you email me your address? Sincerely, Christian Stevenson Stampfel

  13. kamikinard says:

    Thanks Christian. It is traumatic to deal with facial dog bites, I know. So glad to hear your daughter is okay. One of my blessings now is hearing from so many Stevenson’s this month. I saw your mother this weekend, and John emailed me out of the blue last week. Such a great surprise. Thanks so much for commenting.

  14. Tara Lazar says:

    So sorry for your loss, Kami. Sending virtual hugs and healing prayers.

  15. Lois Moss says:

    Kami, I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this. I really appreciate your thoughts though. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I have a niece that was badly injured in a car wreck a couple weeks ago and could have easily died but for a couple inches. It has made us all think about our own mortality. The fragility of life. The importance of showing our love and making the effort to be there for each other. I love how you’ve set the goal to show more appreciation to those around you. I’m going to set the same goal. Thanks for the inspiration. I’ll be praying for you and your family.

  16. I’m so sorry, Kami. Loss can bring such pain, especially when it fills us with “What if’s” & “I wish I had’s.” But don’t carry those questions around. They only lead to more pain. Grieve, but move forward in the effort to stay close to those still here. Live life without regrets. Love you.

  17. Susan Brody says:

    Kami, so sad to hear of this tragedy in your family. I’ve often thought that the one way writers, but not others, can deal with grief is to eventually bring the people they’ve lost back to life as fictional characters. I’ve done it, and it’s helped me. I know you’ll find your own way to honor the lives of your cousins.

  18. kamikinard says:

    Thank you everyone. I really appreciate you all taking the time to stop by and comment! You all gave me so much to think about too. I will be okay, but am worried about her parents, of course. Onward we go…

  19. Lori says:

    Hey Kami – I too was thrown by AJ’s loss. I think you captured what I was thinking and feeling as well. I’m sorry to hear about your cousin and her family. That was also a very tragic event.

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